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EXPLAINER: Royal Commission’s final report into aged care

5th March 2021

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report has laid out a thorough roadmap to transform Australia’s aged care system once and for all. The Government has committed to respond to the recommendations as part of the federal budget considerations in May.

Here are some of the Royal Commission’s key recommendations.

1) Rights-based approach to aged care

    As a huge step forward, the Royal Commission recommends a rights-based approach to Australia’s aged care system. If accepted, this change would be articulated in a new Aged Care Act that would specify the rights of older people. It would also introduce a system much like Medicare, so that people would get access to services in line with their needs and preferences, instead of having to wait for a home care package, for example.

    2) Investing in our workforce

      Our aged care workforce is the backbone to everything we do. The final report reinforces the systemic changes required for aged care to truly attract and retain a committed, passionate and skilled workforce. The key recommendations include increasing wages, introducing a national registration scheme for all personal care workers, and minimum staff time with residents. Again, it will be interesting to see how the Federal Government responds to this very important area.

      3) Fit for purpose funding

        With the Australian Government investing only 1.2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) into fund aged care per annum - half the international average invested by other OECD countries - it’s not surprising that the Royal Commission recommends significant funding increases for the sector. One key recommendation is the proposed introduction of universal funding for aged care, that’s again similar to the funding approach used for patients in a public hospital. The proposal however, would require individuals in residential care to contribute to the ordinary costs of living, subject to a means test and capped at a maximum amount.

        4) Frameworks that instill confidence

          Finally, the report calls for a transformation in the regulation and management of aged care to ensure the quality of care for all older Australians, and an independent agency to set aged care prices. This would involve new standards for providers to be accredited against, and the likely establishment of a new body to manage this.

          We’ll continue to delve into the detail of the 148 recommendations and closely monitor the Australian Government’s response as these become clearer over the coming weeks in the lead up to the May budget.

          Find full details of the report at agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/final-report